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Public Affairs : Class of 2016 Crest Unveiling

Class of 2016 Cadet Eugene Coleman, class president, delivers the final toast of the night for the Class of 2016 at the Plebe-Parent Banquet March 9 at Washington Hall.

Class of 2016 crest unveiled during Plebe-Parent Weekend
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
Assistant Editor

WEST POINT, N.Y. (March 11, 2013) — “We have come a long way in just a short amount of time,” Class of the 2016 Cadet Eugene Coleman said to his classmates gathered with their families inside Washington Hall March 9.

The occasion for this address by the class president was the Plebe-Parent Weekend Banquet and it marked the first formal class function for the cadets to celebrate their accomplishments so far at West Point.

“But this journey is not ours alone,” he continued. “Words cannot express how integral our family and friends have been to our continued success at the academy.”

And for this reason family and friends were invited for a weekend inside West Point to see exactly how the cadets have adjusted to the rigors of the U.S. Military Academy.

The highlight of the banquet was the crest unveiling—the first time this presentation was conducted during Plebe-Parent Weekend.

Class of 2016 Cadet Nicholas Greene, the ring and crest committee chairman, explained the significance of each element within the crest.

The Soldier in the crest’s center represents each member of the Class of 2016 and is placed between the cadet saber and the officer saber to represent their transition from cadetship to officership.

“With our motto, ‘With Honor We Lead,’ this Soldier represents a warrior leading from the front as he or she rallies his or her Soldiers and calls them forward,” Greene said.

An eagle’s wings wrap around the Soldier to symbolize protection. The downward appearance of the wings represents flight and the drive to reach new heights. On the left of the USMA acronym are oak leaves, which represent the endurance and strength of the class. On the right are olive leaves which represent peace and victory.

Above the Soldier is a compass, a reference to the direction that leaders must provide their troops. The class motto appears on the bottom of the crest to signify its position as the foundation and bedrock for the Class of 2016.

The American flag is adorned with six stripes and six stars to forever link the Class of 2016 with its 50-year Affiliation Class. Two graduates from the Class of 1966, Dr. Alan Nason and retired Lt. Col. Cooper Wright, were in attendance to share this moment with the plebe class.

“This serves as a reminder for us not to forget those who have assisted us in getting where we are today, and to remember where we all come from,” Greene said.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, he said it was their honor to have worked the past five months in creating something that will forever represent the Class of 2016.

Looking up at the crest and reading the class motto, Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Richard Clarke said it is a powerful representation of the Class of 2016.

“And it captures so much of what we expect of all of our graduates,” Clarke said. “They epitomize the very essence of our Army values. I challenge you to let these four words define your class and its professional reputation. I am confident your class will live up to them.”

Clarke, a USMA Class of 1984 graduate, said many of the experiences and lessons learned during his time at West Point are fundamentally the same today, and one of the most rewarding is the lifelong friendships that are fostered within the Corps of Cadets.

“The friendships that I made at West Point have enriched my life beyond my wildest imagination,” Clarke said. “Those friendships started at Beast Barracks and during our first year together when we shared the challenge of merely being a plebe while at the same time carrying a bone-crushing academic load.”

Clarke congratulated the cadets on their accomplishments thus far at the academy and for making the choice to serve their country as Army officers.

“This room is filled with young men and women who have exceptional academic, athletic and leadership credentials,” Clarke said. “But you choose to serve our nation and the American people. That says a great deal about you, about your parents and your loved ones.”

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Plebe-Parent Weekend preview article
A closer look at the Class of 2016 crest which was unveiled for the first time during the Plebe-Parent Weekend Banquet March 9 inside Washington Hall.
The class review along the Washington Hall apron was just one highlight
of the Class of 2016 Plebe-Parent Weekend. Just a day earlier, roughly
eight inches of  snow was dumped over West Point but the roads and
walkways were cleared to allow event activities continue as scheduled
March 9. The snow actually helped a bit, permitting spectators on both
sides of the apron to view the formations of cadets marching by during
the review. 

Cadets and their families made the most of the Class of 2016 Plebe-Parent
Weekend March 8-10, making countless treks around West Point, in and out
of buildings and facilities and speaking with staff, faculty and senior leaders
about the progress made in their first nine months at the U.S. Military